Dieters often think to increase fresh and vegetable, cut out sweets, and intensify workouts to lose weight. Although weight loss is factorial and varies between individuals, there may be a hidden piece to the puzzle. Chew on this complimentary weight loss strategy!
Weight Loss and The Effects of Chewing Gum
Though weight loss involves several puzzle pieces, it essentially occurs when calories out exceeds calories in. Calories are burned, or your metabolism, during regular body processes (breathing, blinking, fidgeting, chewing) and more so when partaking in physical activity. As mentioned, day-to-day chewing burns calories - often to break down calorie-containing foods. So when it comes to the effects of chewing gum, chewing is still involved without taking in tremendous amounts of calories.
To be clearer, chewing gum is not a meal replacement. It can, though, serve as a distractor when mindless eating may arise - traveling in a car, watching TV, working at a desk, etc. Commonly, individuals mistake boredom for hunger and the snacks of choice are generally convenient options such as chips and cookies. During these times, chewing on gum can minimize impulse cravings.
But does research align with the suggestions? A study conducted by the University of Rhode Island demonstrated that individuals who chew gum have a reduced caloric intake at lunch (68 fewer calories) while burning more calories compared to non-gum chewers. Further research demonstrated gum chewers may improve short-term energy balance without influences on glucose concentrations. Louisiana State University further demonstrated gum chewers had a 40 calorie reduction each day with lessened snack cravings.
Tips and Warnings
Though gum is often used as a quick breath freshener, chew on a piece when...
...dealing with a craving. Cravings are often enticed by good tasting foods. For this reason, shake up your gum options! Doing so can satisfy taste buds without reaching for cookies, cakes, pies and other favorite sweet treats loaded with added sugars and calories.
...anticipating a binge. Like previously mentioned, gum can be an excellent distractor and resist the invitation of boredom eating. To reduce binging tendencies, reach for a piece of gum instead of wandering to the kitchen for a chip bag or ice cream carton.
...preparing meals. Food is right at your fingertips when prepping meals and snacks. Instead of grazing on ingredients and other convenient products, chew on a piece of gum until the meal is ready for consumption.
If consistently chewing gum, be cautious of the calories. Though most sugar-free gums are less than five calories per stick, chewing through an entire pack still contributes to total daily calories. Sugar-free gums may also cause gastrointestinal (GI) distress, especially related to sorbitol. This low-calorie sweetener can raise concern if consumed in large quantities (or approximately 15 to 20 pieces), especially in people with GI problems, conditions and disorders.
The Bottom Line: Does Chewing Gum Help You Lose Weight?
When it comes to chewing gum and weight loss, it can be assisting. The sole effects of chewing should not replace a total healthy lifestyle. And though the reduced calories each day by gum chewing (40 to 68 according to the research studies) may seem trivial, a year of gum chewing can reduce weight an average of five pounds! Paired with a nutritious diet, an exercise regimen, and good sleeping habit, gum chewing may moderate pesky cravings, lessen caloric intake and lead to weight loss!
Kresge D, Melanson K. Chewing gum increases energy expenditure before and after controlled breakfasts. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2015, 40:401-406, 10.1139/apnm-2014-0232.
Zelman K. Diet Myth or Truth: Chewing Gum for Weight Loss. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/diet-myth-or-truth-chewing-gum-for-weight-loss#1.